PI: Jayadev Rajagopal, NOAO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: KPNO, 950 N. Cherry Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
CoI: David Jewitt, UCLA
CoI: Susan Ridgway, NOAO
Title: Deep wide-field imaging of main belt comets and asteroids
Abstract: We propose to continue a deep imaging study, using the pODI optical imager on the WIYN telescope, of selected regions of the main asteroid belt that contain a known main-belt comet (MBC). An MBC is an asteroid that shows evidence of significant mass loss, seen as transient, comet- like tails and comae. In 2013, we were awarded 4 nights over the two semesters and obtained high-impact wide-field, deep images of two new MBCs, P/2010 A2 and P/2013 P5, to study their origins. In addition, we use the considerable pODI field-of-view to search for direct evidence of very low-level mass-loss activity in the sample of main belt asteroids that will also be detected. Asteroids could be repositories of primordial water and a supply for volatiles on earth. In order to test this possibility (suggested by the recent TALCS asteroid survey at CFHT) and further characterize the mass-loss in known MBC activity, we will observe ~ 25- arcminute fields around ~ 3 known MBCs to significantly deeper levels than TALCS with better resolution. More than half of the 2013A allocation was lost to weather. We request 4 nights in 2014A. With this additional time we are confident of reaching publishable results on low level mass-loss and on the evolution of the activity in known MBCs. We will follow the secular evolution of P/2010 A2. And, as in the previous two semesters, we hope to add a spectacular wide-field deep image of a new MBC.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360